Apple announces learning hub for HBCUs, VC funding in its $100 million drive to tackle systemic racism


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Apple on Wednesday announced the latest phase of its $100 million initiative to tackle systemic racism and promote racial equality. Apple is among the handful of technology giants that have pledged to hire more Black workers and people of color to address inequality.

In its latest move, Apple said it’s launching a global innovation and learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), a developer academy in Detroit to support coding and tech education for minority students; and venture capital funding for Black and Brown entrepreneurs. 

Also: Accenture’s Kathryn Ross on cultivating VC funding for Black entrepreneurs 

The Propel Center in Atlanta, pictured in a rendering above, will aim to bring coding and career opportunities to HBCU campuses and communities across the US. As part of the company’s ongoing partnerships with HBCUs, Apple said it’s also establishing two new grants to support HBCU engineering programs.

The Apple Developer Academy in Detroit will offer a 30-day introductory program designed for students considering careers in the app economy in order to help them better understand what it means to be a developer. The full academy program is an intensive 10- to 12-month program that will aim to help aspiring developers acquire the skills they need to start their own businesses.

Apple CEO Tim Cook first announced the Racial Equity and Justice Initiative in June, following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others. Apple, along with Google and Microsoft and others, are working to diversify their labor base and address inequality amid racial injustice protests, police brutality and a host of issues that have plagued the US for years. 

“We are all accountable to the urgent work of building a more just, more equitable world — and these new projects send a clear signal of Apple’s enduring commitment,” said Cook, in a prepared statement. “We’re launching REJI’s latest initiatives with partners across a broad range of industries and backgrounds — from students to teachers, developers to entrepreneurs, and community organizers to justice advocates — working together to empower communities that have borne the brunt of racism and discrimination for far too long.”

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